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October 12, 2011


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The word 'siri' (சிரி) is a verb in Tamil asking some one to laugh/smile.

Reference for the Tamil meaning: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.4:1:6594.tamillex

But Japanese doesn't have the syllable "si", so when Japanese people say it, they will tend nearly always to say "shi", which is permitted in Japanese. This is why the Japanese refer to a certain late Italian-American crooner as "Shinatora".

The difference Ms. Kopp points out *is* enough that the Japanese can distinguish between the two words. But if she really thinks no one will notice the similarity and perhaps get a laugh over it, well, maybe she hasn't spent much time with Japanese high schoolers.
And I find it odd that she points out that "si" and "shi" are not the same sound, because someone fluent in Japanese surely knows that the "si" sound in a foreign word is always rendered "shi" in the Japanese version. If you wanted it to be otherwise you would have to make a specific effort to convince them to transcribe it differently.

Thanks for your comment, AJ. A point of clarification: Rochelle Kopp did not write the Tumblr post that I quote here; she simply sent me the link.

" many tech writers have taken to calling it “she.” (See TechCrunch, Mashable, CNN, and ExtremeTech.)"
Also David Pogue, who loves all things iPhone, in the Times

Siri is a servant in Albert Cossery's novel "The Jokers"

Siri is a common womens first name in Norway.. It is an abbreviated form of Sigrid and means "beautiful victory".. I'm from Norway. And my name is Siri ;)

An excellent and highly informative article; answered all my questions and then some!

My daughter is Thai and her name is Siri. i believe it menas "radiant"

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